Before you do, let me tell you my story.
Last year, I wanted to incorporate a company in Singapore just like you. I have a successful business in Europe and expansion into Singapore was a natural extension of that business. After all, the World Bank ranks Singapore as #2 in the world in their Ease of Doing Business report. Singapore has a great digital infrastructure, high-quality admin, legal, and accounting services, and provides access to talented people. Singapore may not be a big market, but it is a rich market. And most importantly to people in business, it is a great hub to enter fast-growing Southeast Asia.
The websites I visited were overflowing with information. There were all these packages and add-ons that always contained some vague disclaimers like “includes this” or “doesn’t include that”. And the prices were all over the place, ranging from $700 to $7000. You could even get it free if you contracted to buy a ton of accounting and other services for the next 12 months.
Now, I'm resourceful and I know how to do my research but even I felt overwhelmed. To make matters even worse, many websites wanted to force me to schedule a consultation or engage in a chat session just to get the information I wanted. Man, that didn’t sit well with me. I could see the big sales push coming. As a successful entrepreneur I know you never ask the car dealer if you need a car.
Finally, I reached out to the five or so companies that seemed legit. The process was agonizingly slow. I had to fill out web forms that were always followed by days of email correspondence, and then wading through PDF files with offers all while interacting with people trying to sell me as much stuff as possible. It was exhausting. Read more
I finally picked a company to help me incorporate in Singapore even though I had a gut feeling that I wasn’t going to get the services I needed. Later, I found out my gut was right. I paid for services that I didn’t need at all, or didn’t need at that time. To add insult to injury, I even paid for a year’s worth of services that I only needed for a few months until I set up my operations.
Oh, and did I tell you that these companies advertised that I could incorporate in a few days or even hours? Sure I could - on paper. But what good is a company if you don’t have a bank account to do business? Man did I find out the hard way that it takes time to open a bank account in Singapore.
I discovered those “introduction and bank account opening” services really just pointed to a banker (who pays a commission) or provided someone to go with you to the bank. Really? They didn’t do anything! I had to do all the work. Did you know you can’t open a bank account in Singapore without visiting the bank in person? I sure wish someone would have told me that the banks have their own complicated procedures and opening an account can take up to a month or two, depending on your corporate structure, the company shareholders and your country of residence.
In a nutshell. What was supposed to be easy was a nightmare. It was very difficult to navigate the sea of incorporation providers with all their various packages, services, and yearly subscriptions like so much flotsam trying to pull me down. I needed a lifeboat. Just a quick and lean start. Like every entrepreneur, I can’t predict what will happen in one year and I didn’t like the idea of paying so much for so many services in advance. You know at the start of any business the budget is tight and cash is flowing out and not in. Even though I went with one of the big boys, I wasn’t happy with how things turned out. The bureaucracy was overwhelming, everything was so slow and so complicated. Not to mention the expenses which were much more than what I thought to be reasonable for the services provided.
Now, it’s a year later and I run a successful online marketplace for legal services in Singapore (Advomi.com.sg). But I look around and see that there’s still a real need for businesses to incorporate cleanly and easily in Singapore. But, no one is providing this service.
At Advomi we decided that we can and we will do something about it. We put together the best incorporation lawyers and experts and empowered them with technology so on our platform they can do the job faster and at lower prices.
I don’t think anyone should have to go through the frustration and aggravation I did to incorporate in Singapore.
You want to set up your company in Singapore and my company wants to help. I pledge to you that we will only serve your best interests and we will always be open and honest about the process and our prices.
Singapore is a great place to be in business. Let me help you get started.
Stan Nennoff, founder